Gary McAllister

Gary McAllister

Infobox Football biography
playername = Gary McAllister

fullname = Gary McAllister
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1964|12|25
cityofbirth = Motherwell
countryofbirth = Scotland
height = height|ft=6|in=1
position = Midfielder (retired)
currentclub = Leeds United (Manager)
youthyears =
youthclubs =
years = 1981–1985
clubs = Motherwell
Leicester City
Leeds United
Coventry City
Coventry City
caps(goals) = 059 00(6)
201 0(47)
231 0(31)
119 0(20)
055 00(5)
055 0(10)
720 (119)
nationalyears = 1990–1999
nationalteam = Scotland
nationalcaps(goals) = 057 00(5)
manageryears = 2002–2003
managerclubs = Coventry City
Leeds United

Gary McAllister MBE (born 25 December, 1964, in Newarthill, Motherwell) is a Scottish former professional footballer and the current manager of afc|Leeds United.

McAllister played primarily as a central midfielder, though he could also play on either wing, in a successful career spanning over twenty years. He started his career at local side Motherwell before moving south of the border to Leicester City at the age of 20. McAllister then went on to play for Leeds United, with whom he won the league championship, and he later had two spells at Coventry City intersected by a brief, yet triumphant, stint at Liverpool.

McAllister also represented his national side for nine years, winning 57 caps and scoring 5 goals. [cite web |url= |title=Gary McAllister |accessdate=2008-04-04 |publisher=Sporting Heroes] His leadership qualities were soon noticed and he spent four years as Scotland captain in addition to two seasons as Leeds United skipper. He has since been inducted into the Scotland Football Hall of Fame and was awarded an MBE in the 2001 New Year Honours in recognition of his contribution to the sport. [cite web |url= |title=McAllister caims sixth medal |accessdate=2008-04-04 |date=31 December 2001 |publisher=BBC Sport]

As his playing career drew to a close he decided to enter the managerial side of the game. He did this first during his second stay at Coventry when he was appointed player-manager in April 2002.cite web |url= |title=Coventry turn to McAllister |accessdate=2008-04-04 |date=24 April 2002 |publisher=BBC Sport] He stayed at the club until he temporarily stepped down in December 2003 to care for his wife, Denise, who was suffering from breast cancer. He resigned a month later and didn't enter management again until he returned to Elland Road in January 2008 to replace Dennis Wise who took up a role at Newcastle United.cite web |url= |title=Leeds name McAllister as new boss |accessdate=2008-04-04 |date=29 January 2008 |publisher=BBC Sport]

Playing career

Early career

McAllister began his playing career at his local side Motherwell, where he scored 8 goals in 70 appearances, until his fine performance in the 1985 Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic caught the eye of Leicester City manager Gordon Milne. He signed for the English club, along with Motherwell team-mate Ally Mauchlen, for a combined fee of £250,000 in 1985.

McAllister went on to play for Leeds United, Coventry City and Liverpool He was also a Scotland international and is a member of the Scotland Football Hall of Fame, having won over 50 caps. He was a member of the 1990 FIFA World Cup squad and captained the 1996 European Football Championship team.

Leeds United

McAllister arrived at Leeds United on July 2 1990 for a fee of £1,000,000 and replaced the role vacated by Vinnie Jones when he left for Sheffield United.cite web |url= |title=Past Player Profile – Gary McAllister |accessdate=2008-04-04 |] The club had just achieved promotion to Division One, the top tier of English football at the time. Leeds performed well in McAllister's first season at Elland Road, finishing fourth in the table and reaching the League Cup semi-finals.

He formed a strong midfield quartet that season with fellow Scottish international Gordon Strachan and relative youngsters David Batty and Gary Speed. This midfield was the force behind the success of the 1991–92 season, in which Leeds United were crowned League Champions.

The title-winning team owed a lot to the midfield. The side was bereft of international talent in attack and defence and so the onus was on Strachan, McAllister, Wales international Speed and England's Batty to provide that required class. The quality of the midfield was that any of the four could slot into whichever area they needed to be in, be it left, right or centre, though Batty tended to be the holding midfield player whilst McAllister, Strachan and Speed provided the creativity. McAllister's dead-ball skills were also utilised by top-scorer Lee Chapman, who scored the majority of his goals from headers and thrived off the service provided by McAllister and Strachan's free kicks.

The rest of McAllister's time at Leeds saw the club fail to recapture those heights. The highest the club finished during this period was fifth in the 1993–94 and 1994–95 seasons and the lowest was 17th in the 1992–93 season – one of the lowest-placed finishes of a defending league champion in English football history. Despite this, he captained the side for two seasons and won a special place in the hearts of Leeds United fans with his fine attitude, blistering long-range strikes and trademark free kicks.

Although his final season with Leeds may have been a disappointing 13th, it allowed McAllister to achieve one of his first footballing ambitions – to captain a side at Wembley Stadium. He led his team out in the 1996 League Cup Final, but it wasn't to be and Aston Villa won 3–0.

In his six seasons with the club, McAllister played 294 games in total, scoring 45 goals.

Coventry City

McAllister left Leeds for Coventry City on July 26 1996, for a fee of £3,000,000. He stayed there for four seasons and played firstly under Ron Atkinson and then former Leeds team-mate Strachan. During his time at Highfield Road he played 140 games and scored 26 goals.


On July 1 2000, McAllister completed a surprise move to Liverpool in a bosman transfer. [cite web |url= |title=McAllister confirms Reds move |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=25 May 2000 |work=BBC News] Not many would have doubted McAllister's ability, but many Reds fans questioned manager Gérard Houllier's decision to sign a player who was by now 35 years old. Though serving for a relatively short time at Anfield, he played an integral role in the team that won a treble of cups in the 2000–01 season. His ability to play as a central midfielder or on either wing made him a useful weapon in the armoury of then-manager Houllier, who described McAllister as his "most inspirational signing".

Gary continued to be a first-class exponent of the dead-ball and frequently demonstrated his skill as he presided over most of Liverpool's set pieces in that season. He scored a penalty winner against Spanish side Barcelona in the UEFA Cup semi-final [cite web |url= |title=Liverpool's Uefa Cup run |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=15 May 2001 |work=BBC Sport] and followed it up with a memorable 44-yard free-kick that won the Merseyside Derby against local rivals Everton in the 94th minute, [cite web |url= |title=Reds leave it late for derby win |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=16 April 2001 |work=BBC Sport] thereby cementing himself into Anfield folklore. Further examples of this talent came in the run-in against Coventry City [cite web |url= |title=Liverpool dent Coventry's hopes |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=28 April 2001 |work=BBC Sport] and Bradford City. [cite web |url= |title=Bradford slip to hungry Liverpool |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=1 May 2001 |work=BBC Sport] These vital goals helped to take Liverpool into the Champions League and led many to suggest that the club had signed him ten years too late.

However, McAllister saved his best for those two finals the following May. He came on as a substitute in the FA Cup Final and his performance, together with Michael Owen's goals, turned the match after Liverpool had seemed to be heading for defeat against Arsenal. [cite web |url= |title=Owen shatters Arsenal in Cup final |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=12 May 2001 |work=BBC Sport] Four days later he was named in the starting line-up in the UEFA Cup Final against Deportivo Alavés in Dortmund. McAllister scored one, and had a hand in three, of the five Liverpool goals in a memorable 5–4 victory. He slotted home a penalty and Alaves' Delfi Geli scored a golden own goal from his 117th minute free-kick. [cite web |url= |title=Alaves proud in defeat |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=16 May 2001 |work=BBC Sport] He was deservedly awarded the man of the match award for his efforts and completed the season's success by scoring a penalty in Liverpool's 2–1 win over Manchester United in the Charity Shield at the start of the next season. [cite web |url= |title=ALiverpool edge out Man Utd |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=12 August 2001 |work=BBC Sport]

During his time at Anfield his presence, intelligent play and experience made a strong impression on the younger members of the squad and he seemed to inspire those around him when they found themselves in difficulty. [cite web |url= |title=McAllister right for Coventry? |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=24 April 2002 |work=BBC Sport] This is one of the qualities that have led to his nickname "The Enforcer" by which he was known throughout his career. [cite web |url= |title=McAllister right for Coventry? |accessdate=2008-04-07 |work=Beyond Leeds]

McAllister left Anfield on May 13 2002 to take up the role of player-manager of Coventry City. He ended his Liverpool career with an emotional send-off with a substitute appearance in a 5–0 win over Ipswich Town. [cite web |url= |title=Rampant Reds sink Ipswich |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=11 May 2002 |work=BBC Sport] The whole ground stood and applauded the "Kop hero" and despite only being with Liverpool for two years, he had featured 87 times and scored 9 goals. In recognition for his contribution to the club's success, McAllister was named as number 32 in the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop survey. [cite web |url= |title=100 Players Who Shook The Kop |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=13 March 2008 |work=Zimbio]

Managerial career

Coventry City

McAllister had a fairly indifferent spell in management with his former club Coventry. However, he resigned on January 12 2004 so that he could devote more time to his family. He had recently stepped down on a temporary basis in order to be with his wife, Denise, while she underwent treatment for breast cancer. McAllister's former assistant Eric Black replaced him three days later, [cite web
url= |title=Black named Coventry boss |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=15 January 2004 |publisher=BBC Sport
] but sadly Denise passed away on March 3 2006, aged 38. [cite web
url= |title=Soccer star's wife dies of cancer |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=3 March 2006 |publisher=BBC Sport

Leeds United

After almost four years out of the game, McAllister, who was part of the squad the last time Leeds had won the League Championship, was appointed the new manager of Leeds United on January 29 2008 with an initial contract until the end of the season. The club was sitting in 6th place after former boss Wise's surprise departure to Newcastle and the new manager's first game came four days after his appointment. McAllister had not had sufficient time to get to know his new players, so the selection duties were primarily on technical director Gwyn Williams, who had presided over Leeds' 1–0 away defeat to Southend United. [cite web
url= |title=Southend 1-0 Leeds |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=29 January 2008 |publisher=BBC Sport
] Leeds lost the game 2–0 to Tranmere Rovers and slipped to 8th in the table and it became clear that McAllister would need to turn the tide if Leeds were to regain a play-off spot.

The new manager bagged his first win at the fifth attempt, in a 1–0 away victory over Swindon Town, [cite web
url= |title=Swindon 0-1 Leeds |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=1 March 2008 |publisher=BBC Sport
] before following it up with his first home victory against Bournemouth, in which Leeds beat the relegation-threatened side 2–0. [cite web
url= |title= Leeds 2-0 Bournemouth |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=8 March 2008 |publisher=BBC Sport

Leeds chairman Ken Bates rewarded McAllister for his hard work and the team's good form – just 2 defeats in 12 games – by offering him a new 12-month rolling contract on April 3 2008. [cite web
url=,,10273~1280518,00.html |title= Gary McAllister |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=3 April 2008 |publisher=Leeds United
] Bates cited McAllister's general improvement of team performances and his planning for the club's future as reasons for offering him the new contract. [cite web
url=,,10273~1280522,00.html |title= Chairman on Mac |accessdate=2008-04-07 |date=3 April 2008 |publisher=Leeds United

Gary McAllister's task of getting The Whites into The Championship the same season took a considerable step-forwards, as Leeds secured their spot in the play-offs with a 1-0 at Yeovil Town on 25 April, 2008. He has only lost three of the seventeen Leeds games he has managed. He has taken Leeds to the league one play-off final on Sunday 25th May after a 3-2 aggregate win over Carlisle United, for a chance to return to The Championship after just one year, despite the fifteen point penalty. But Leeds lost to Doncaster, 1-0. Another season in the third tier of English football awaits.

Career statistics

Playing career

Managerial career

Managers' success rate is based on points scored out of maximum points available i.e. win = 3 points, draw = 1 point, loss = 0 points.
The statistics include all league, cup & European first team fixtures.
Information correct as of match played September 24th 2008.


Club honours

* 1984–85 — Scottish Division One

;Leeds United
* 1991–92 — League Championship
* 1993 — Charity Shield
* 1996 — League Cup ("Runner Up")

* 2001 — League Cup
* 2001 — FA Cup
* 2001 — UEFA Cup
* 2001 — Charity Shield
* 2001 — UEFA Super Cup

Personal honours

* Scotland Football Hall of Fame — 57 Caps
* MBE – Services to football.


External links

*soccerbase|4946|Gary McAllister
*soccerbase (manager)|1802|Gary McAllister
* [ Exclusive interview]
* [ Leeds United AFC past player profile]
* [ Liverpool FC past player profile]

NAME= McAllister, Gary
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Football (soccer) manager
DATE OF BIRTH= 1964-12-25
PLACE OF BIRTH= Motherwell, Scotland

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